Once the preserve of gentlemen, there is now an ever increasing number of ladies taking up shooting which has created demand for quality, tailored ladies shooting attire. From a style perspective women actually have a wider choice of garments and ways in which to create 'the look'. From a practical perspective you will, of course, want all the same protective and functional features as the chaps! That will include looking for waterproof outer layers, insulating midlayers, sturdy, comfortable footwear and practical details such as stretch materials and action back jackets to allow for unrestricted movement. Remember that the shooting outfit is first and foremost a functional set of garments that provide complete protection against the elements.
Again, what you wear will depend upon the weather and the type of shoot that you are attending. If you are participating in a large shoot at a country estate you will want to incorporate beautiful, smart style into your practical dress. This is an excellent opportunity to experiment with tweeds, tattersalls and colourful shooting socks. You may also wish to incorporate a smart neckscarf or shooting gloves into your outfit. Whatever you choose, ensure that it is practical for the weather and for freedom of movement. Nothing will ruin the enjoyment of your day more than being cold, wet or uncomfortable.
A range of Ladies Shooting Jackets are available, some in tweed and others which use GoreTex for the best in waterproof protection. Musto's modern technical tweeds are treated with a DWR (durable water resistant) coating which affords the wearer an incredibly high level of protection against the elements. Their Stretch Technical Tweed makes use of Lycra to provide enhanced stretch and freedom of movement and have been incorporated into a full set with Jacket, Waistcoat and Breeks. Musto have also made excellent use of GoreTex in their shooting range and, good news for the ladies, their highly popular Whisper Shooting Jacket has been tailored into a flattering design for women. Boasting the same features as the mens Whisper Jacket, this coat provides the highest level of waterproofing with the added advantage of being almost silent.
Ladies Breeks are also available, such as the Musto Stretch Technical Tweed Breeks. Treated to provide waterproof protection, they have incorporated Lycra and Nylon into the fabric for added stretch and durability. Breeks will look beautiful, especially worn with a matching waistcoat or jacket, but if you prefer, moleskin trousers are rising in popularity with lady guns. Moleskin trousers will keep you warm on cold days and are ideal for when the weather turns wet. They are very durable and snag proof, making them ideal field wear.
As with mens shooting attire, your midlayers will comprise of a Waistcoast and Shirt. A tweed waistcoast is traditional and will look the most stylish and smart. The role of the waistcoat is to provide an additional layer of warmth on cooler days, or on warmer days it may be worn as your outerlayer. A tattersall shirt would again also be traditional, but ladies have a little more freedom to experiment with the colour. When choosing a shirt the best thing to look for is a longer length which can be well tucked into trousers and will not ride up as you move.
Flat Caps are also popular with ladies, although a Waxed Hat would also be acceptable if you prefer to opt for a more femine style. Again, these are functional garments designed to protect you against the elements, so always ensure caps or hats are waterproof before buying. Optional accessories include Shooting Gloves so especially cold days, these are often made of leather and will provide a slim, snug fit with good grip. They should also be waterproof. On dry days you may wish to accessorise with a smart neckscarf to complete your look.
Footwear should be waterproof and durable with a good, sturdy sole which will prevent cold and damp getting through into the boot. Le Chameau are an excellent manufacturer with a very desirable range. Take a look at their beautiful Jameson Boots, a unisex field boot, or their ladies Wellingtons. Hunter also ofer a selection of field boots, including the Balmoral Westerley.
The accessories that you carry are also very important. You should arrive with your gun carried safely in a Gunslip, it would be considered very bad form to arrive at a shoot with an unsheathed gun. To go with this you will need a Cartridge Bag to neatly store all of your cartridges for the day and keep a supply in your pockets for ease of access.
If you are attanding a smaller scale shoot, for example locally, on a farmers land, you will be looking at comfort and durability over style. You may be involved in beating and picking up as well as shooting, so you will want to look for garments that are tough enough to stand up to the varying demands of the day. Waterproof overtrousers are a good choice for really foul weather and you will want to look for a jacket that is waterproof and durable. Musto offer some fantastic options, including the Fenland Packaway (pictured below) - ideal for in-between days this lightweight jacket is easily stored away ready for use if the weather turns. Another sound choice would be the Ladies Sedgemoor Jacket; a womens version of the mens Westmoor Jacket, which has highly practical features such as waterproofing, removable hood and handwarmer pockets.
Your footwear should be waterproof and durable and protect you from cold and damp. Aigle offer a fantastic range of wellingtons which are perfect for long days on your feet; insulating and with antibacterial treatments they should last you many years. Muckboot are another great brand and their boots are designed specifically for fieldsports. They boast a fantastic thermal comfort range and generally have heavy duty soles that are ideal for muddy and tough conditions.
To protect yourself from the impact of a shot it is worth investing in a good quality Recoil Pad. Musto have created their innovative D30 pad which contains molecules which lock together upon impact to give you excellent protection in a long lasting product. You should also protect your ears with specialist shooting Ear Defenders.
Now you're dressed and ready to head out on a shoot, learn about